LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Recycling professionals say the pandemic has caused a significant shift in Michigan bottle bill returning behavior.
Before retailers had to shut down bottle-bill return sites from almost three months during COVID-19, Michigan’s bottle-and-can redemption rate was the highest in the U.S., with an 88% rate of return in 2019, and an over 90% rate in the decades before.
That rate of return for bottles and cans is now down to 75%, according to a press release from Schupan & Sons, Inc., of Kalamazoo, which specializes in recycling metals and plastics.
Schupan & Sons says, the material from cans and bottles isn’t making it back to processors to be recycling into more cans and bottles–and to reduce carbon emissions.
Michigan’s Bottle Bill passed in 1976.
According to the state website, of the money from unclaimed 10 cent deposits, which is collected by the Michigan Department of Treasury, 75% is deposited into the Cleanup and Redevelopment Trust Fund, and 25% is returned to retailers.
“Every dime on a container not redeemed now adds up to $100 million every year for the State of Michigan and retailers,” according to the statement from Schupan & Sons.